Montana becomes No. 35

Marriage_Equality_Map11-17

By the end of November, the orange and purple should be blue on this map.

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris has ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and respect for same-sex couples’ marriages in Montana.

Today’s (Wednesday, Nov. 19) ruling follows a favorable marriage ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in cases out of Idaho and Nevada. The circuit court holds jurisdiction over Montana, as well as Alaska and Arizona, which also have the freedom to marry.

Although Montana can appeal to the 9th Circuit, that court has refused to stay marriage rulings for other states. The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t stayed rulings in circuits where it rejected appeals. So marriage in Montana is likely to begin over the next few days.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“Montana’s same-sex couples and their loved ones want what all families want: joy, protections, security, and respect — and that’s what the freedom to marry is all about. This ruling, in keeping with nearly every other court that has ruled in more than a year, brings us to 35 states with the freedom to marry — but we are not done until we end marriage discrimination in all 50 states. It’s time for the Supreme Court to affirm the freedom to marry nationwide and bring our country to national resolution for all loving and committed couples in every state.”

More than 50 federal and state courts in the past year have ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

—  David Taffet

Marriage equality updates from around most of the country … but not Texas

Marriage_Equality_MapSouth Carolina

After the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles refused to allow Julie McEldowney to use her married name on her driver’s license, she filed suit against the state. She had already changed her name legally with the Social Security Administration.

Nebraska

Those wacky Catholics who are following the Pope and not a bunch of out-of-touch cardinals and bishops.

Omaha’s Creighton University, a Jesuit school, will offer benefits to same-sex spouses of employees. The move comes after the local Catholic archbishop voiced objections to the decision. The archbishop objected but school president the Rev. Timothy Lannon said that Creighton must also meet the needs of its employees and remain competitive with other universities.

Arizona

Since marriage equality came to Arizona last week, county clerks in all 15 counties have issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. An estimated 300 licenses have been issued, meaning that roughly $20,000 has been brought to the state’s economy.

Montana

The Great Falls Tribune in Montana has published an editorial in favor of marriage equality.

“It’s time for the state of Montana to quit wasting taxpayers’ money and to accept gay marriage in Montana, even if churches can go their own way on this matter,” the editorial board wrote. “Some people still want to make political points with this issue, but we say, it’s too late for that. It’s all over.”

v.vember 20.

Kansas

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree has scheduled a hearing in the case challenging Kansas’ marriage ban for this Friday, Oct. 31 at 2:30 p.m.

Wyoming

Now that Wyoming is a marriage equality state, Equality Wyoming is working on adding sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination law. While it’s legal to get married in the state, a marriage license can be followed by a pink slip.

Missouri

While Missouri is still not a marriage equality state, it does recognize out-of-state marriages. So the Missouri State Employee’s Retirement System decided to add equal benefits for same-sex spouses.

That contrasts to Dallas where the city’s Employee Retirement Fund and Police and Fire Retirement boards have put roadblocks in the way of treating its LGBT employees equally despite a Dallas City Council mandate. The head of the ERF even had the gall to claim the board was doing everything it could to change the regulations after voting against a policy change herself.

—  David Taffet

One state left without marriage ban lawsuit after South Dakota challenge

Mount RushmoreSouth Dakota was one of only two states with marriage bans that had not been sued. That changed last week when six couples filed a lawsuit in U.S. district court on Thursday, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

The suit challenges the state’s 1996 marriage law and 2006 constitutional amendment banning marriage between same-sex couples as well as the state’s right not to recognize out-of-state marriages. Five of the six couples were married in marriage-equality states. The sixth couple would like to marry in South Dakota.

On Wednesday, a suit challenged Montana’s marriage laws. North Dakota is now the only remaining state whose marriage ban is not facing judicial review. A suit in that state may be filed as early as this week.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision striking down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act last June, marriage equality has won in every suit that has come before a court.

—  David Taffet

Montana Attorney General Requests Dismissal of Gay Rights Lawsuit

Montana Back in July I posted about a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and seven same-sex couples in Montana, seeking the same rights as heterosexual married couples in the state. 

The state's attorney general today filed a motion for dismissal:

"Spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples, and the Montana constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, Attorney General Steve Bullock said. The court does not have the jurisdiction to require the state to extend spousal benefits beyond that definition, Bullock said in a motion to dismiss the case. "Courts may not exercise the power to enact laws and revise, alter or amend the constitution," Bullock said. Such policymaking power belongs to the Legislature and the people of the state, he added. District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock has set a Jan. 25 hearing on Bullock's motion to dismiss the case."


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—  admin

Why The Montana GOP Still Calls For Sexually Active Gays To Be Imprisoned

The reason the Montana Republican Party still states in its official platform, under the "Crime" section, that members "support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal"? Because it's a holdover from 1997, when the Montana Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws and the GOP reacted quickly to register its displeasure, and then found itself annually re-committing to excluding gay voters. Removing the language has never come up for discussion, says Montana GOP executive director Bowen Greenwood (seen here in a photo that does not depict him cruising in a public park), who ran for a seat in the State House and lost. So it's remained as is.


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—  John Wright

Butte hole: Montana GOP needs, doesn’t care to find patch

MT-GOPThe AP is reminding all Americans of a truly startling reality about the Montana state Republican Party: That they still have a call to criminalize homosexuality in the “crime” section of the official party platform:

Montana GOP policy: Make homosexuality illegal [AP via Yahoo]

While the AP does quote some like state Sen. John Brueggeman (R-Polson) who wish to see the mean-spirited, legally-insignificant wording removed, the seemingly more significant sentiment comes from state GOP executive director Bowen Greenwood, who says that the matter has never even come up for discussion. Never even come up. Not once. In over twelve years. Just slipped the mind.

The obvious response: THEN. BRING. IT. UP, EXECUTIVE. DIRECTOR! The state party literally calls for gays’ hands to be bound and thrown into a cop car — nobody’s binding your own lips and hands from putting a word and deed to a remedy!




Good As You

—  John Wright

Montana Tea Party Chief Tim Ravndal Didn’t Know He Was Joking About Hanging Fags

Tim Ravndal, the ousted head of Montana's Big Sky Tea Party Association, wants his job back! It was totally not fair that he was booted for LOLing all over Facebook about stringing up the homos.

CONTINUED »


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—  John Wright

Montana House GOP Candidate Declares ‘War’ on the Gay Community Over Tea Party Leader’s Removal

Kristi

Kristi Allen-Gailusha, a GOP nominee for a Montana House seat and secretary of the Big Sky Tea Party Association, has left the latter group, angry that its president, Tim Ravndal, was forced out following revelations that he posted remarks condoning violence against gay people to his Facebook page.

Allen-gailushas Ravndal, in a Facebook posting dated July 23 and since removed, expressed his views that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The post was in response to an ACLU lawsuit in Montana brought by seven gay couples who want to get married.

In the post's comment thread, Ravndal expressed support for a commenter who (in apparent reference to the Matthew Shepard murder) said, "I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions."

In response to the Ravndal controversy, Allen-Gailusha posted a comment to her Facebook page declaring "war" on the gay community (see screenshot above).

The Helena Independent Record reports:

"Allen-Gailusha said Ravndal wasn't even referring to the Shepard case, and that his comments were taken out of context. She said she would submit her resignation from the association at Tuesday night's meeting. She may have also been heading for trouble with the group’s board, following the revelation of one of her own Facebook postings that takes aim at gay people."

Allen-Gailusha is the Republican nominee in House District 82.

(top image via montana cowgirl blog)


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—  John Wright

Montana Tea Party president jokes about murdering gays and Matthew Shepard

In what is literally a stomach turning post, Andy Towle highlights the President of Montana’s Big Sky Tea Party Association’s Facebook comments in support of “traditional” marriage. The comments on his original post turned to jokes about murdering gay people, using the murder of Matthew Shepard as a joke.

Tim Ravndal expressed support for a commenter who (in apparent reference to the Matthew Shepard murder) said, “I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions.”

Answered Ravndal: “Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?”

The original commenter then responds, “Should be able to get info Gazette archives. Maybe even an illustration. Go back a bit over ten years.”

This is bigotry and hatred, plain and simple. As long as laws don’t treat us as equals, ignorant and hate-filled homophobes can continue to broadcast filth like this, feeling validated by our government that we are somehow worth less.




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—  John Wright

Montana Tea Party President Condones Violence Against Gays in Facebook Post Supporting Traditional Marriage

Ravndal

This seems to have been posted in late July, but several people have brought it to my attention today. Tim Ravndal, the President of Montana's Big Sky Tea Party Association, expressed his views that marriage should be between a man and a woman in a Facebook posting. The post was in response to an ACLU lawsuit in Montana brought by seven gay couples who want to get married.

Then Ravndal expressed support for a commenter who (in apparent reference to the Matthew Shepard murder) said, "I think fruits are decorative. Hang up where they can be seen and appreciated. Call Wyoming for display instructions."

Answered Ravndal: "Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?"

In related news, the Montana GOP Platform calls for making homosexual acts illegal.


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—  John Wright